C-Level View :: May 10, 2006

Executive View

Incident Response at UT Austin

By Mary Grush

An interview with VP for IT Dan Updegrove

The recent break-in to an administrative database at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin (TX), discovered April 21, may have compromised the personal data of a very large number of individuals. Early reports stated there were about 197,000 records in the database. We caught up with VP for IT Dan Updegrove for an update and some of his impressions after the first two weeks of the institution’s incident response.

Though the affected server did not fall under central IT, you’ve been involved in helping the business school and the university cope in the wake of this. Do you have any updates on the situation, especially on the extent of the damage?

The numbers of exposed individual records and exposed Social Security Numbers are somewhat less than originally reported, but still large. Through a press conference on April 23rd and communication on April 25th to everyone on the database with an e-mail address (roughly 185,000), we sought to publicize that McCombs affiliates were at risk and should establish no-cost Fraud Alerts immediately, pending further notification about which of their personal data, if any, had actually been disclosed. We also established a special hotline with a toll-free number that received 4,000 calls in the first week. After exhaustive analysis of database logs, the McCombs School is providing individuals with specific data disclosure information (starting May 8th). Updates on the incident and the university’s response can be found [on the McCombs School of Business Data Theft and Identity Protection Web pages]...

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